Sunday, 8 April 2012

Chit Chat With Mark Feuerstein

Mark grew up inNew York City. After receiving his commencement from Princeton University, he then moved to London to study at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Mark briefly returned to reside in New York to fulfill an incredible opportunity in a sitcom in the mid 1990’s and now has been living in Los Angeles for the past 15 years. In July of 2005, Mark married Dana Klein, a remarkable television writer and producer, at the Four Seasons-Biltmore Hotel inSanta BarbaraCalifornia. Today they have three angelic children Lila, Frisco andAdelaide.

For seven months out of the year, Mark leaves his family and their Los Angeles home and flies to New York to maintain residency. Royal Pains is filmed at various locations throughout Long Island including the world famous Oheka Castle and Huntington Hospital in Huntington, Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay, South Freeport and other eminent and enticing areas on Long Island. He is only home with his family for five months (in between filming). Each year, during the summer, Dana comes toNew Yorkwith their children for two and a half months. They stay in Bridgehampton and enjoy the long summer days onLong Island’s resplendent beaches, in the golden sand.

So, you seem very comfortable in your new role…

Absolutely! 100 percent! There is nothing like having the support of a network and one that’s doing incredibly well to boost your confidence in your own gain and character, and to boost the confidence of an entire project. I mean you can’t know what it feels like where all network executives are scrambling to make the show work by changing a plot, changing the character list, changing the entire tone of a show. I was on a very high quality drama like “Once and Again” and “West Wing” and “Ally McBeal”…all of which had incredible show runners. But now I’m on a network where they support you and they believe in everything they do. It takes brilliant visionaries to create a personality around a network and that is what they have done.

So Mark, this is your fourth or fifth role as a DR. Is this a coincidence?

“I have a great pedigree. I was in a great High School and I was in a great college. I even got a full scholarship to go to London. All of this amounted to a great admission to a great law school or a medical school and I could have put my parents at ease. But I didn’t. So they had to sweat it out for several years while I was auditioning for Pringles commercials. And the least I could do for them was to play every profession they wish I could have been. So I play doctors and lawyers and accountants and once in a while a salesman. But basically I think there is no better profession that I can pretend to be, so on the High Holidays I can say, “Yeah I’m a doctor.” Take a composite of all the doctors you have been to, put them all together into one 40yr old male image and it will be a doctor that resembles me.

Would you give up acting, after all these roles as a doctor, to go to medical school?

Ahh ..NO. I took biology in college and I believe my grade was a D. I knew I didn’t have the intellectual rigor to do the lab reports and the memorization for the 14 hours a day. Ironically I do spend 14 hours a day memorizing my lines instead of nerves. But I could not worship the medical profession any more than I do now. There are people who have in them both knowledge and wisdom and physically can go into a room and open up a human body and fix it like it were a car. They are miracle workers. That is what they did to my daughter who had a heart defect. I will never look at the medical profession the same again.

As the brilliant Hank Lawson on the USA’s hit series Royal Pains, Mark Feuerstein has never encountered a medical emergency he couldn’t unravel. Yet, as a father in real life, he has never seen more than band aids and casts. In reality, Mark has already had to deal with a health crisis more discouraging than any script he has read. Dana and Mark’s youngest daughter Addie, who is now two and a half years old, was diagnosed with ALCAPA, an unimaginable and potentially fatal heart defect. Mark talks about this:

“Until then my only knowledge personally had only been casts or band aids. And suddenly I was thrown into the deep end of medial uncertainties and it was my daughter. When you see the care, the brilliance, the calm under pressure of the nurses in a children’s ICU hospital, they were geniuses. They remain steady and took her coronary artery off of her pulmonary artery and placed it on her aorta the first time around. The second time around they had to repair her mitral valve. We just went to the cardiologist two days ago and she has as close to a clean bill of health as you can get. She still has a slight regurgitation but she is two and a half years old, running around bossing everyone around: Adelaide Feuerstein! You just sit back and appreciate the miracle of modern science and medicine and the saviors that are doctors and nurses.”

Mark, what are your favorite parental moments?

“My favorite parental moments are on Sunday mornings when I am home in LA… I let my wife sleep in and I get up at 5:30 am with our three children. I make breakfast then we head to the Farmer’s Market. I buy all the fresh produce and then we go on the pony rides.”

Who taught you the importance of giving back? Who is your charitable influence in your life?

“My father has always been a pillar of the community at our synagogue. He has given us his time. As a lawyer he has given thousands of hours to help local organizations from the synagogues, to the schools I’ve attended, to the families involved in all. To a fault he has given whatever he can to those people. Having that as an example and watching that showing his light, as my mother has all her life too, being just very open, very giving people…they are a great example. That’s what I would have to say from a charitable approach. My father is always talking about Mitzvah (Mitzvah is the act of kindness performed by or to a Jewish person. It is also a Jewish religious duty or obligation) and about my grandmother who raised 6 children on the lower east side ofManhattan. She too was a very generous soul. People were always welcomed into her house. As far as Mitzvah…repairing the world one person at a time is very important to me and I try to show this to my children. It was represented beautifully to me by my father.”

Outside of his role as a doctor, father and husband, Mark has an extremely compassionate soul. His integrity toward others, commitment to his beliefs and a life time of practicing Mitzvah has molded him into an honest and charitable man. He will be emceeing the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund’s Honor at the Castle Gala on April 24th, 2012 at the Oheka Castle in honor of all the fallen officers who have lost their lives serving others. “I am very excited to be at the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. Every civil servant (police officers) like doctors, have devoted their lives to the greater good beyond themselves. A person who devoted their life to something and is thankful and gratified in how they serve other people is truly admirable to me. My hat goes off to them. It is a great honor to be representing such a great cause.”

Additional information and to attend:

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Mark is very content with his role as Dr. Hank Lawson. He states, “Royal Pains has an amazing team of writers, actors and producers. Finally, after many mishaps and false starts, I am in the Promised Land on a TV station that works. Royal Pains has become one of the highest rated shows on cable.


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